Goatriders of the Apocalypse

What's the rush to add a 5th Starter?

Fresh off the heals of Milton Bradley's signing Hendry has come out and stated that he would like to add another pitcher, for either the rotation or the bullpen.  I can't argue trading for Jake Peavy much, as he is far better than anything the team would give up to get him, but I can't see the logic in adding another mediocre pitcher (such as a Tim Redding, who praise Jesus agreed to a 1 yr deal w the Mets).

I think the need to fill the 5th starter slot is being a bit overhyped, and there are other needs the team should address instead.  A team's 5th starter is usually sqeezed at the beginning and end of each season, where with extra off-days the team can skip the 5th spot in the rotation if they so choose.  So basically, a team's 5th starter isn't usually getting the ball in April, September, or the Playoffs.  Look at the role Marquis played in 2008; the cubs will need to find someone to replace the 28 starts and 167 innings he threw, but I think there are players already on the roster very capable of filling that vacancy.  Guys like Chad Gaudin, Sean Marshall, Kevin Hart, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman, Randy Wells, and Smardjz could all fill the void.  Where even if no one guy throws lights out, I would bet that you could get 28 starts out of those 7 guys while getting similar numbers that Marquis would have put up.  I would argue that getting a reliable lefty for the bullpen is a greater need than finding the 8th cadidate for the 5th starter role.

Assume that the cubs land Peavy tomorrow, and the Megatron Rotation comes together; with Peavy, Zambrano, Lilly, Harden, & Dempster.  This also means that Ryan Dempster is slotted into that spot in the rotation that could be skipped 5-10 times throughout the regular season and the same spot in the rotation that won't exist in a Playoff Series.  So if Demp is willing to pitch in any role, then adding Peavy makes sense.  Then again, having a staff with 3 out of 5 starters being somewhat injury prone, it could make sense to use a 5th starter for the entire season to limit each pitchers' starts and give them extra rest days throughout the regular season.  If the cubs had the Megaton Rotation, and all 5 guys took the ball every time they were supposed to start then each member of the rotation would get 32 starts minimum.

Zambrano has made 30+ starts in each of the last 6 seasons.

Peavy has made 30+ starts in 4 of the last 6 seasons.

Ted Lilly has made 30+ starts in 5 of the last 6 seasons.

Rich Harden has made 30+ starts 1 time in the last 6 seasons.

Ryan Dempster has made 30+ starts 1 time in the last 6 seasons but he did make 30+ starts in 3 other seasons earlier in his career.

The rotation could work for the first 162 games, but it could be tricky to find a way to utilize 5 starters in a 5 or 7 game series when the Playoffs roll around.  Dempster could add some stability to the bullpen assuming he could effectively go from being a starter to a reliever at the end of the season, but thats tough to do and a lot to assume.  Another possibility is putting Rich Harden in the 5th spot in the rotation, where he can be skipped easiest if he needs extra time between starts since he is the highest risk for injury.  In any case, I would love to see Jake Peavy on the roster, but if the team can't complete the trade to get him then I think the cubs should look to add a lefty reliever to the bullpen.

Demp is a expensive #5

If this Peavy played out Demp would be an expensive #5, but last year Lou considered him (wrongly IMHO) our #1. But yes, you can never have too much pitching.

I too think it's more important to get a good lefty reliever.

By adding a 5th starter,

By adding a 5th starter, Marshall could be moved to the pen, thereby adding to our left handed relief corps.

The left-handed relief corps you speak of......

So you would be happy with Sean Marshall and Neal Cotts as your lefties out of the bullpen? I like Marshall as a starter, but I am a little less wowed by him as a long reliever and a especially as a lefty specialist. I like Marshall in the rotation because he lends balance to the starting 5, where the team would have 3 righties and 2 lefties. In my opinion, the team would be much better off if they put Marshall in the rotation and made a trade with the Orioles to get George Sherill. I would even consider signing Will Ohman, and bringing him back to the team if he is still a free agent. I think its time the cubs see what they can get from Sean Marshall over a full season in the rotation since his future in the league will likely come as a starter. I agree that the team needs a lefty in the bullpen, I'm just not convinced that Sean Marshall is the best player to fill that role simply because he throws left-handed. .

I wonder what his numbers in

I wonder what his numbers in relief were last year. It'd be interesting to look.

Sean Marshall 2008

He pitched well in 08 as a starter and a reliever.

As a starter:
7 starts, (1-4) record, 39IP, 18ER, 38H, 36K, 12 BB, 5 HR, 4.15 ERA

As a reliever:
27 games, (2-1 & 1SV), 26.1IP, 10ER, 22H, 22K, 11BB, 4 HR, 3.42 ERA

1) What free agent lefty

1) What free agent lefty would be a better addition to the pen? (I guess Ohman is one. Kudos to you. As for Sherril, I don't think he's available.)

2) Which free agent starters could do better than what Sean did?

My main point is, if you only get a reliever, you (maybe) upgrade the bullpen. If you get another starter, you add rotational depth (I am really not confident in anyone on staff beyond Marshall), AND upgrade the bullpen.

1) Joe Biemel, Will

1) Joe Biemel, Will Ohman

2) Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets

although i would rather use Marshall, but those are just some names.

I'd prefer Sheets+Marshall

I'd prefer Sheets+Marshall to Marshall+Biemel.

I guess we should have kept Ohman instead of Eyre, huh?

middle relief

We have to remember, that while Eyre and Ohman both suck, so do 99% of all middle relievers. Hence why they're middle relievers.

Right. So, you can gamble a

Right. So, you can gamble a few million on a reliever not panning out, or you can gamble a few million more on a starter with incredible stuff and an injury history.

Woo hoo!

There isn't much left on either side

Most of the players that remain free agents are either old, expensive, or a large injury risk. Sherill may be harder to get, but if the cubs were to make a deal with Baltimore he makes much more sense than Olson. The only remaining starters I would consider are Randy Wolf, Andy Pettitte, Oliver Perez, and Ben Sheets. Each of these guys are rather expensive, but any one of them on either a short-term or low-dollar deal makes sense, but I'll admit isn't likely at all. The remaining relievers aren't going to get too many people excited, but there are at least 3 guys out there that could fill a huge void in the cub's bullpen. If the team were willing to sign Will Ohman, Joe Beimel, or Eddie Guardado; then that one signing would balance out the rotation and the bullpen - where the team would have 2 lefties in the rotation and 2 in the bullpen. Pick any of the 3, and each would likely be a relatively low-cost signing that would make a huge impact.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award